Byline: Kelebogile Masemola

30 June 2022

With the aim of attracting investment in the game meat sector, and to open local, regional and international market opportunities, the Cabinet has approved South Africa’s first draft Game Meat Strategy for public comment.

South Africa, renowned internationally for its abundant wildlife provides market opportunities that could derive from the harvesting of game meat and related value-added products. 

“The strategy and implementation plan are aimed at creating a formalised, thriving and transformed game meat industry in South Africa that contributes to food security and sustainable socio-economic growth,” said Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Barbara Creecy. 

Attracting investment to the sector required transformation of the industry to ensure future growth, the department said.

The game meat industry, currently mainly a by-product of hunting, is predominately an informal industry that operates in a fragmented manner.

The industry is largely untransformed, and there is a very low participation rate of previously disadvantaged individuals.

In addition, there are large areas of community-owned land that is suitable for plains game, and which provides opportunity for community-based enterprises to drive rural socio-economic development.

There are also high barriers to entry, which would need to be addressed.

The aim of this strategy will thus be to create a formalised game meat industry to achieve the economies of scale necessary for commercial ventures based primarily on game meat production, harvesting, processing, distribution, and marketing.

“There is a need to ensure that the potential of game meat as a driver of rural socio-economic development founded on biodiversity-based land use, and which is leveraged to create wealth, jobs, and climate friendly and resilient meat-based food security.

Game meat enterprises, complimenting other biodiversity economy activities, need to be commercially and socially viable, and ecologically sustainable, and the Strategy sets out to achieve this. 

The strategy acknowledges the significant contribution that is being made by current wildlife businesses and the various associations that drive critical elements of the value chain.

Key to taking the new Strategy forward will be to harness their experience and expertise.

New private sector investments will be needed, and partnerships and collaborations will be essential, meaningful, and with buy-in from all stakeholders.

The Department will continue to engage strongly with current and potential industry participants, including through the Wildlife Forum, in order to capitalise on the collective energy that went into developing the draft Game Meat Strategy, and to create the momentum for its successful implementation.  

“The need to create new value, open up new opportunities, generate new growth, and deliver new efficiencies are all key to transformation, and will necessitate change along the entire Game Meat value chain,” said Minister Creecy. 

The draft Strategy will be published for public comment in the second quarter of the 2022/23 financial year.